The Meadville Area Water Authority (MAWA) – which has been managed by the Products and Services Group of American Water since 1997 – has been presented with the "Water System of the Year" award by the Pennsylvania Rural Water Association (PRWA). The award recognizes the staff and board of a water system for providing high quality water treatment and service to its customers. There are over 1,000 water and wastewater system members of PRWA, but only one "Water System of the Year" award is presented annually.
The MAWA serves a population of 16,000, which includes the service area of the City of Meadville, and areas of West Mead and Vernon Townships. In addition to the service area, the MAWA is the sole bulk water provider to the Vernon Township Water Authority.
The MAWA received the award, which focused on "Planning and Resolving Emergencies," due in large part to its effective handling and prompt response to the August 2003 Park Avenue collapse. The street collapsed because of heavy rainstorms, which caused a large culvert to fail and eroded a 6- and 8-inch water main. The MAWA restored full water service to over 1,000 residents, two retirement homes, and a large apartment complex within 40 hours of the collapse.
"I am extremely pleased and honored that the Meadville Area Water Authority was selected to receive the Water System of the Year award by the Pennsylvania Rural Water Association," said Donald L. Nold, American Water Project Manager for the MAWA. "Our success as a water utility – and specifically as related to the Park Avenue emergency – is due to 100 percent employee participation, effective emergency planning, maintaining a working inventory, and the support of the board members. It has truly been a team effort – and one that exemplifies how partnerships between water companies and municipalities create win-win situations for customers."
"The dedication, professionalism and concern of the water system and customers makes the Meadville Area Water Authority truly deserving of the Water System of the Year award," said John Hood, Executive Director of the PRWA.
The MAWA was formed in 1991 when the authority purchased the water system from the City of Meadville in Pennsylvania. In 1997 the authority formed a partnership with American Water's Products and Services Group (formerly known as American Water Services). Since then, the management services provided by American Water has expanded, most recently in 2003 with a 10-year contract to handle the MAWA's overall operations management, financial planning, accounting services, billing services for local water and sewer customers, and community outreach.